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#AM_Equality Tipsheet: March 22, 2017

NEIL GORSUCH’S TIES TO ANTI-LGBTQ LAW PROFESSOR BROUGHT TO LIGHT AT SENATE JUDICIARY HEARING: During yesterday’s confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Gorsuch about his mentorship by John Finnis, an Oxford legal professor who has compared LGBTQ relationships to beastiality. In Gorsuch’s 2004 dissertation from Oxford University, he revealed that he did not think the United States Constitution protected the right to marriage equality. Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including civil rights for LGBTQ people, including calling marriage equality part of the liberal social agenda, saying, “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom… as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide…” We can’t afford a Supreme Court justice who will rubber stamp Trump’s agenda. And because so many of the LGBTQ community’s hard-fought rights have been secured in the nation’s highest court, HRC opposes Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. We have no reason to believe he will be an advocate for LGBTQ Americans, and we urge senators to vote “no.” More from TIME.

“AS ONE REPUBLICAN TO ANOTHER” — DON’T DISCRIMINATE AGAINST LGBTQ COMMUNITY: Former Senator Alan K. Simpson (R-WY), who was a former co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, pens an oped for The New York Times calling out President Donald Trump for claiming to be a supporter of LGBTQ rights during his campaign, but doing nothing to back up those claims. He cites data showing that a majority of fair-minded Americans do not support policies that discriminate against the LGBTQ community — including his leaked executive order that would give a “licence to discriminate” under the guise of religious freedom. Simpson writes, “What would you get out of signing this executive order? You would placate a vocal minority that includes some certified hate groups and far-right activists who are truly out of step with most Americans and many Republicans across the country.” 400 faith leaders sent a letter to Donald Trump last month speaking out against this leaked order, saying that religion is already protected under the law, and that the executive order would do nothing but allow for taxpayer-funded discrimination of minority groups. Read the full piece from The New York Times.

WHAT WE’RE READING WEDNESDAY: For 15 years, HRC’s Corporate Equality Index has given employers a toolkit to make their businesses better for their LGBTQ employees — operating under the principle that being anti-LGBTQ is bad for business. In a new piece for Salon, Nico Lang (@Nico_Lang) shows how companies now want to avoid hiring anti-LGBTQ employees. Just ask former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory — the only incumbent governor to lose his position on Election Day. He also recently told a podcast that he has struggled to find a job because of this decision to sign the disastrous HB2 into law. More from Salon.

ARKANSAS ADVOCATES CALL OUT ANTI-LGBTQ STATE BILLS: Yesterday in Little Rock, representatives from HRC, the ACLU of Arkansas, the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition, the National Center for Transgender Equality and transgender pioneer Miss Major Griffin-Gracy spoke out against the anti-LGBTQ bills in the legislature — including SB 774, an anti-trans bill reminiscent of North Carolina’s HB2 that would restrict the use of restroom and locker room facilities in public buildings to a single sex; and HB 1986, anti-trans legislation could effectively make it criminal for a transgender person to access a sex-segregated space consistent with their gender identity. More from Arkansas Times.

HUD WITHDRAWS NOTICES IMPACTING LGBTQ HOMELESS: Two weeks ago, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) withdrew two notices impacting LGBTQ people. The first notice withdrew a requirement for emergency shelters receiving HUD funding to post information about LGBTQ people’s rights to access shelter safely and in accordance with their gender identity. The second notice withdrew critical data collection and implementation guidelines for a homelessness prevention initiative targeting LGBTQ youth. More from Rewire.

ADVOCATE CHALLENGES TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO’S ANTI-SODOMY LAWS: Jason Jones (@JonesvTNT), a Caribbean LGBTQ advocate, says he has received more than 50 death threats for challenging anti-sodomy laws in Trinidad and Tobago. More from Erasing 76 Crimes.

OSAGE NATION VOTES BY REFERENDUM TO APPROVE MARRIAGE EQUALITY: The Osage Nation voted ‘yes’ on a referendum to amend tribal law to bring marriage equality to the nation. More from Osage News.

MEGAN HILTY JOINS HRC’S EQUALITY ROCKS CAMPAIGN: American singer and actress Megan Hilty has joined HRC’s Equality Rocks campaign. Tony-nominated Hilty is best known for her role as Ivy Lynn in the musical-drama TV show Smash and Glinda the Good Witch in the Broadway musical Wicked. Megan has also starred in films and television shows as well as countless Broadway shows. More from HRC.

GO GO POWER RANGERS! Actress Becky G (@IamBeckyG) has revealed that her character, the Yellow Ranger, will “explore her sexuality” in the new Power Rangers film. The actress said, “The movie is saying, ‘That’s OK,’ and all of the kids have to own who they are and find their tribe.” More from ABC.

READING RAINBOW

Reuters maps the efforts to track London’s LGBTQ history… Voice of America explores Cambodia’s LGBTQ community and the gains the country has made towards LGBTQ acceptance…

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